IIS Quick Tip: Started App Pool doesn’t equal started Website

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We were troubleshooting an ASP.NET website issue yesterday where static files were not being served but we couldn’t figure out why.  The website appeared to be running and working correctly.  Other websites on the server were working correctly.  The website also hosted a WCF service and it was working correctly.  So part of the site was working but the static files were not.

We checked the AppPool and it was “Started” so we weren’t sure what else to check.

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After about an hour we finally found the status on the site was set to “Stopped” for the http binding.  We had assumed it was up because the icon next to the site in the site list did not have the typical stop sign but a question mark sign.  The question mark is used when you have additional, non-http bindings that are hosted via Windows Activation Service (WAS).  This is a common with WCF services. 

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We quickly verified the site was stopped by selecting the site and seeing the “Start” button was available.  Starting the site immediately fixed the issue.

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As you can also see in this screenshot, its clear to see when a website is stopped with the stop sign if it only has http bindings.

Hopefully others can learn from my bone-headed mistake.  If so, please share a comment below.

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